Finding housing as a student mother can be difficult and stressful. The more you know, the easier it will be to find a place to live with your child(ren). Here are some tips for finding safe and affordable housing as a student parent.
First things first: Title IX protects your right to keep your current housing through your pregnancy. Talk with your campus’ Title IX coordinator if you have an issue keeping your housing during pregnancy. For a full list of your rights protected by Title IX, visit this page: Your Rights as a Pregnant Student or Mother
After having your baby, you may be asked to find family-friendly housing. To find out the options your college offers, talk to the administrator responsible for housing. Often, family housing is set aside for graduate students, but many schools will make exceptions for undergrads, single or married.
Work with your college as much as possible. Talk with a resident assistant, area coordinator, campus minister, dean of students, or another administrator to see if he or she can help you.
Some colleges and universities have housing for specifically for student mothers. Take advantage of this opportunity if it is available.
The Pregnancy on Campus Initiative can be a good resource to find out what your school has to offer.
If your college does not offer family housing, or if it is too expensive, consider other options:
- Real estate agents can help you find affordable housing close to your school, for you and your partner or spouse, if applicable.
- The Single Parent Alliance of America may be able to connect you to affordable and safe housing in your area.
- Visit CoAbode to explore sharing housing with another single mother.
- Pregnancy resource centers can also be a resource and may know of families who may be open to providing you with housing. They may also be able to connect you with many other resources. One of these helpful centers may be near you!
- Birthright International will refer you to safe and affordable housing in your area.
- Care Net pregnancy centers offer material assistance as well as job and housing referrals.
- The Gabriel Project network includes centers and services across the country.
- The Guiding Star Project connects women with more than basic pregnancy resources.
- Heartbeat International connects women with pregnancy resource centers in their area through their Option Line site.
- Check bulletin boards in local houses of worship and community centers for information on local pregnancy resource centers.
While living off campus if often more affordable, it is important to make sure that the place you choose to live is safe. You will want to make sure you find a place to live where both you and your child will feel safe.
Here are some tips:
- Consult the housing director on campus—he or she may have recommendations on what is safe and what is not.
- Make sure to check the crime rates for the area; try to keep your search within areas with low crime rates.
- If you are going to rent an apartment, make sure to visit before renting one. Make sure that doors and windows lock, that smoke detectors work, and that security cameras are set up in public places.
- If possible, you may want to live with a roommate. A roommate can help bring down your living expenses. You may also be able to trade household duties and/or costs for babysitting
- Consider how you will get to campus. If you will be walking to campus for class, try to find a place with lots of street lighting, in case you need to walk back at night. If you will need to take other transportation, don’t forget to budget for those costs.
If your school or area does not have the resources that you and your child(ren) need, you may decide the best option for you is to transfer to another school. This is OK! (In fact, we’ve written a whole article on why “It’s OK to Transfer!”)
For more information on finding safe and affordable housing, visit our safety and housing pages. [Link]
Remember, while you may have to get creative to find the right place to live, this is a temporary stage in your life, and you and your family will reap the rewards of your degree for the rest of your lives.